The beginning of May was me prepping for a new show and stage managing the 40th anniversary gala. The run up to the gala was a clusterf*ck in that special way events like that always are: no one is specifically the person in charge but lots of people have (usually valid) opinions and not enough time to rehearse or fully sound check anything and people looking to me like I should know things when I've had the script for 20 minutes. And the performance was lovely and effortless which is how those things often turn out. I'm not sure what collective grace we tap into to make these things happen, and I fear for the day that well might run dry.
The new show has finished its first week of rehearsal and is wonderful. I like the script, and the director, and the cast. I like the philosophy of theatre in the room, and that everyone is there for the work first, not themselves. So far, so good. I remain frustrated that it seems our show is a priority to no one but those of us in the room: first there was the gala (so people couldn't answer my questions because they were busy despite the fact that without their answers I was at a standstill on some issues for days), now there is a reading for a show that will be performed in Dec ( they're sharing space with us, and it constantly feels like they're the most important thing about this week despite the fact that we open in three weeks), and of course the start of next season coming at us. But I'm trying to just deal with the show in front of me, and let the rest of it fall away.
See in the show one of the characters is dealing with cancer. Between actorly discussions about motivations and my one year anniversary of diagnosis coming up the topic is very much at the front of my brain. I kind of want to jump into the discussions happening in rehearsal but how? I'm fairly certain that if I said "Well I've had cancer and" blah blah something, there would be reaction and explanation and stuff I'm not sure I want to deal with. Yet without that prelude why am I speaking up at all? It's just weird to realize that something I choose not to talk about for so long now feels like something I almost can't talk about, at least not casually. I have a feeling it's going to slide out in conversation at some point given that the topic is so present in rehearsal and i can't decide if I should look for an opening and force it, or purposely quash any possibility of the discussion. I think what I want is for it to be as matter-of-fact for everyone else as it has become for me, but I know that's unrealistic. Anyway....
But none of that is so important. What's important is that I ran Bay to Breakers yesterday for the seventh year in a row. Last year I ran this race and then about two weeks later had my first surgery and didn't run any meaningful distances for eight months. So this felt like a comeback of sorts, a return to someone I was before. It was a gorgeous morning for a run, overcast and in the mid 50's. As always this race has a distinctive feel all it's own. Some of my favorite things this time:
- I saw the salmon again! (There is one massive hill on the course, and a group of people dress as salmon and run down the center of the hill we're all so valiantly striving to get up. Occasionally they yell "spawn!" at the runners.) But this year behind the string of salmon were another 15 or so people in bear masks. It was particularly brilliant and made me laugh out loud.
- At the entrance to the park a group had set up a Christmas tree and were all dressed as elves cheering us on with "Merry Christmas" (Santa was there too, in a recliner.)
- Best t-shirt of the day hands down was the guy whose back said "why run faster when you can chase this ass?"
- I also saw: naked people, very muscular men in tutus and fishnets, a group of unicorns, and someone running the entire race dribbling a basketball.
Here's the weirdest thing, I set a PR finishing in 1:24:47. I have a theory that this is less about my magnificent speed and more about being closer to the start of the pack when the gun went off so I didn't have to pass so many people, but it's cool whatever the reason. I finished 9483rd overall by time, which means my name is in the Examiner today for the third year in a row. Woot!